Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I workout


This picture has nothing to do with working out, it just makes me smile.  The left side is Emmilyn, and the right is Landon when he was little.  They are definitely related!

So I'm officially 6 weeks post-partum and very anxious to hit the gym to get back in shape.  I vaguely remember how in a former life I'd roll out of bed, drive to the gym, walk straight in, workout for as long as I want, maybe grab a coffee after, or go shopping, or both because I could. 

Today it goes a little like this:

First thing in the morning I'm nursing Emmilyn and Landon poops his underwear.  Awesome.  I watch to make sure he doesn't sit anywhere while I finish feeding Emmi.  Clean him up, pack the diaper bag, pack my gym bag, load up the car and drive to Walmart to buy store bought cookies for a get-together because the pie I attempted to make last night was an epic fail.  Maybe because one kid was pulling on my leg while the other was crying the whole time.  Leave Walmart and swing back by the house to pick up forgotten gym bag.  Get back on the road to the gym, pull in gym parking lot...both kids are asleep.  Awesome.  Wake Landon up so we can go inside.  Fill out paperwork at gym daycare for Emmilyn who is now hungry again, spend another five minutes explaining cloth diapers to the daycare ladies, finally walk into the gym, put on my sneakers and get on the treadmill and realize I only have about 30 minutes to workout before the daycare closes.  Awesome.  Do I even need to workout at this point?

All jokes aside I did get in a small workout and Landon & Emmilyn both did great at the daycare.  I know it will just (hopefully) get easier everyday and I can't wait to get back in shape and running again!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful


*Photo courtesy of Ellen Nicol Photography
 
 

When a military wife finds out she is pregnant there is one uncertainty she faces that others may take for granted: 

Will my husband be here for the pregnancy, the birth, or the first sleepless night?  What about for that first sweet smile, first words, first steps or first birthday? 

Whether for training or a deployment there is no way to truly know.  If our husband is missing the pregnancy and birth we tell ourselves that it's better because he will be here for the first year of life.  If he has to leave right after the birth we tell ourselves, at least he will be here to experience the birth of his child.  Having experienced myself and watched others friends and fellow spouses experience...well...frankly they both suck.  Period.  We make the most of our situation and rely on our sisters and battle buddies to get through.  We take life one day at a time and fill our calendar with as many activities as we possibly can.  We set goals for ourselves and in my case paint our entire downstairs floor one painstakingly slow section of wall at a time after Landon went to bed.

Why is this on my mind?  Emmilyn is just about the age Landon was when Daddy had to say 'see you later' and board that plane for Afghanistan.  The image of Chris kissing five week old Landon goodbye will forever be ingrained in my brain and heart.  I wasn't worried about myself.  I am quite independent and strong and I knew I would be okay but Landon was so young, so tiny and innocent of the fact that his father would miss many of his firsts.  I took pictures everyday and filled up Youtube with countless videos of every gurgle, laugh, and first Landon experienced but it's never the same as experiencing it yourself. 

Today I am thankful.  Thankful that we have a few more months to cherish as a family of four.  Thankful for a few more months before we have to say 'See you later.'  Thankful to be looking forward to this Holiday season.  Thankful to listen to Landon cackle with laugher while Daddy chases him and thankful to watch sweet Emmilyn sleeping on Daddy's chest.  Thankful to have the man I love beside me.  When the time come we'll survive, one day at a time.  We'll take pictures and videos; we'll talk about Daddy and how he's defending our freedom.  We'll schedule playdates, go on roadtrips, set goals (and hopefully not paint  the whole downstairs again!) 

Today, though, I am thankful.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cloth 2.0

I started cloth diapering my first born when he was one week old and I did the same thing with my second...at 11pm to be exact.  I would have waited till morning (a much more logical decision) but I ran out of disposables so it was time to switch!  I honestly have to say it has been the easiest part of caring for little miss Emmilyn so far.  I did prefolds and covers with Landon for the first few months while I decided what type of diapers I liked and built my pocket stash and planned to do the same with Emmilyn even though I have a large stash of pockets this time around.  Pockets are easier, yes, but newborns go through so many darn diapers that I find prefolds & covers to be so much easier in the beginning....especially because we are home most of the time.  Here is a picture of E in a prefold with a snappi:


And then with the cover overtop:

 
The first time I began cloth I was so annoyed that the diapers come down to the knees nearly but now it's just normal to me.  Like all things, she will grow into them!  One thing I have discovered new this time around are fitteds (see below.)

 
They still require a cover but as you can see are a LOT more simple than folding a prefold.  I purchased them from a friend and frankly if one of the main points for me wasn't to save money I would own 20 of these!  I have 3 (side note - the brand is Thisties) and I use them mostly for night time or when we are out since they make life a little bit easier. 
 
I've found myself thinking about jumping into my stash of pocket diapers much earlier (E is just 3 weeks old now) but I will probably wait until the amount of diapers we are going through slows down a little bit.  You know, when one diaper change doesn't turn into 3-4 diaper changes before I've even left the changing table! ;)  The only other detail I can think of that's different is that I am using regular Tide Powder for my diaper laundry instead of Charlie's Soap.  The main reason?  I had to order Charlie's Soap online and I can pick up Tide Powder at any local grocery store AND use it on the rest of my laundry as well.  Hey, when #2 comes along somtimes the solution is just whatever is fastest and easiest!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Art of Grocery Shopping

Today I had a foreshadowing of my life over the next 4-5 months.  Dreary, rainy, cold and I was attempting to grocery shop with a toddler and a newborn. 

::sigh::

I first attempted Walmart yesterday by putting Emmilyn's carseat in the basket (it's not safe to put it on top of the cart people!!) and Landon in the front.  Except Landon wanted to help push the cart.  Ok, that gave me about one square foot of space to put groceries.  Hmm, that won't work.  I came home with about 4 items.  FAIL.

Today I decided I would 'wear' Emmilyn in a carrier and put Landon in the front of the basket like usual and tada - go me!  Not so fast.  When I arrived it was about 40 degrees and raining and the last thing I wanted to do was juggle putting a 2 week old baby into a carrier in the cold rain so I decided to attach the carrier to me, get Landon out of the car, then carry the whole carseat into the grocery store.  Once inside I put Landon in the cart, got E out of her carseat and worked her into the carrier, then stuffed the carseat UNDER the cart so I'd have room to put groceries IN the cart.  Phew!  Are you exhausted because I'm exhausted?!  Now I had to actually do what I came here for!  And don't even get me started on unloading everything when I get back home (in the rain!)  As it goes with everything we survived, but I couldn't help frown when I realized it's just going to get colder and messier over the next several months.  For those who live in warmer climates you might not be familiar with another safety rule that just makes chores (in a car at least) harder in the North Country.  It's not safe to keep kids coats on them while buckled in their carseat.  So add one extra step of taking winter coats on and off everytime we get in and out of the car.

Ok, ok, enough complaining!  When we got home, Emmilyn was screaming to be fed so I quickly unloaded the necessary (frozen & cold items) and abandoned the rest to feed her.  Landon decided to help Mommy and continue putting the groceries away and I had to just smile & laugh as I watched him in action.  Here was the result:


Apparently for a 22 month old, ALL groceries (including bags) go in the fridge.  He probably spent a good 10-15 minutes unloading everything and organizing.  Seriously, every item had a place.  Even though I knew I'd have to go behind him and re-put away everything I let him do his thing because it was clearly a learning experience for him, he was helping which I am thankful for, and it was too darn cute!

PS -HOW is it November already?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Emmilyn is here!


Wow!  The past two weeks have been a whirlwind!  I began this blog post several times and just haven't been able to finish.  There really has been so much that has happened in the past two weeks but with my foggy Mommy brain, here is a little bit of my story.

Emmilyn finally made her arrival at 40 weeks and 3 days.  I started to think she was never going to come and then woke up at 5am one morning with contractions.  By lunch time the contractions were all over the place and inconsistent but as I was overdue I decided I wanted to go in to see if anything was happening.  Of course, not much was happening.  The Dr. ordered me to 'walk the halls' of labor & deliver and at 6pm he would check again and either admit us or send us home. 

::sigh::  Chris and I totally thought we'd be going home.

Fast foward to 6pm, I was 5cm dilated and was admitted.  Woohoo!  Fast forward to 7pm, Chris is eating, Dr. has gone home, we are preparing for a long night and bam! -  My water breaks, I'm a 9.5cm, the Dr. is called, and the room is filled with what feels like 100 nurses frantically setting everything up for delivery, and everyone is telling me NOT to push!  27 minutes later Emmilyn arrived with no medical intervention!  Truth be told, I was waiting to get the intrathecal (my hospital doesn't offer a regular epideral) and Emmilyn came too fast for me to get it.  I am so thankful for the experience of a natural birth, though, because it is something I wanted with both babies. 

Recovery has been so much easier this time around and we were discharged from the hospital after just 24 hours.  Everything was going great (as good as the first few days at home with a newborn & toddler CAN go) and then the day after family left I woke up with horrible, make you double over, pain across my back.  I got up to use the bathroom and I had the shakes, plus a very tender belly.  Something was definitely wrong.  We had a morning checkup for Emmilyn and then Chris drove me straight to the Dr. where we discovered I had developed Endometritis, an infection in the lining of my uterus.  By the time we finally got home I had a fever of 102 and was in so much pain all I could do was lay perfectly still on the couch and there I stayed for hours.  Thanks to my amazing husband, Chris, we survived the next 24-36 hours.  The neighbors had already planned to bring us dinner that night and Chris took care of everything else.  Entertaining, bath, and bedtime for our 22 month old and feeding/changing/rocking/everything for Miss E.  With the infection & fever, nursing was just unbearable so I went upstairs to bed and woke up every few hours to pump while Chris came up to get the milk and replace it with an empty bottle ready for the next feeding.  Talk about tag-team parenting!  Chris really is super Dad and an amazing husband.  I slowly started to feel like myself but it took about 2-3 days for the fever & pain to go completely away. 


Now that I have had about 2 weeks to adjust to another baby in the house, here are a few observations I have made:

-Girls are MUCH more demanding than boys!
-Just because breastfeeding was easy with your first, doesn't mean it will be for your second.  E is gaining weight and doing great now, but she definitely requires more guidance than Landon did.
-Cloth diapering a newborn is like riding a bike.  It might just be the easiest part of caring for E so far.
-Losing weight should be easier this time because frankly, I don't have time to eat.
-In some areas I feel like a pro taking care of baby #2, yet in other areas I find I still full of worries & fears of doing the right thing.
-Putting baby in her own room earlier = better sleep for Mom.
-With one child you learn to do things one-handed.  With two children you learn to do things no-handed.
-My life is full of such joy with our newest addition.  Watching my toddler gently kiss his baby sister goodnight, and my loving husband cuddling them both.  Life doesn't get much better than this!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Boy Who Cried Poop

Just what you were hoping for, right?  Another potty training/poop related blog post.  :)  We had a pretty relaxed 4 day weekend with lots of lounging on the couch, a few chores, and most days sleeping in until 8am.  I don't know where the sleeping in came from because Landon is usually up by 6am but I'm just referring to it as the calm before the storm since I am due with baby #2 in just 10 days now! (10 days, yay!)  Whatever may be causing him to sleep later - THANK YOU!  Despite our super exciting weekend, I am focusing on potty training because we had a little victory to celebrate! 

Public potty use!!

 I learned early on in potty training that as successful as your toddler may be at home, the public potty is a totally different beast!  In my opinion the number one reason public potty training is a challenge?  Those darn scary (& LOUD) super flushers!  When the toilet is as big as you of course that flush will scare the crap out of you!  In fact, my Aunt was telling me that the flush scared one of my cousins so bad that she would have to stop grocery shopping, run home to let her potty, and then go back to the store!  Crazy!  Anyways, we've been using one of those handy fold-up portable little potty seats for L to sit on when we are out of the house.  Those are also a big fail.  Landon has successfully used the public potty a couple of times now and you know why I think it was a success?  We ditched the stupid foldable potty (that on several occasions slips and falls in the toilet with a can't-ever-sit -still-toddler - yet again scaring him) and just help support him sitting on the potty.  Seriously so much easier.  Now if you just turned your nose or said eww at the thought of sitting your child directly on a public toilet seat I'm guessing you are one of those hoverers who are responsible for the messy toilet seat in the first place!  Wipe the seat before you sit down, do your business, then wash your hands.  All clean! 

The humerous side of this weekend's potty training came when my husband referred to Landon as 'The Boy who Cried Poop!'  I couldn't stop laughing because it is so true!  He is really starting to tell us when he has to go but he points to his butt and says - poop? (yes, as a question) - for everything.

Reasons Landon says - poop?:

-He, in fact, needs to poop.
-He needs to pee
-He wants to wash his hands (a new obsession)
-He passed gas
-Somebody is in the bathroom at home and he wants to join
-We just put on PJ's and he's avoiding bedtime
-He heard someone say the word poop
-He wants to get down from his high chair

                                                                                ....and the list goes on.

Beyond the public potty victory, potty training in general has been very up and down, day by day.  Some days he's totally on board and hardly has a single accident.  Other days it's like he forgot the concept completely.  In the big scheme of life my toddler finally going potty in public is most certainly a 'little' victory, but my blog is titled, The Little Things.  At the end of the day, isn't it those little victories that make the day an overall success?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Waiting Game

I'm sitting here sipping my coffee in solitude before the sun comes up.  Landon usually wakes up by 6am and my days start with one eye open juggling him, the dog, breakfast, and sleep deprivation.  This is morning #2 where it's well past 6am, Landon is still sleeping and I am eating my breakfast in quiet.  Why I suddenly can't sleep, I'm not sure but I am going to enjoy these last few peaceful mornings as I know they won't last.  Chris is home from training in California, the nursery is ready, and we are just waiting on baby girl to arrive!

Last weekend was pretty lazy as it rained, and well, we were feeling lazy.  Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to.
 
Lazy day fun at home.

Gymnastics
 
Our first Chipolte experience. (We all loved it!)

What weekend would be complete without playing with the dog.

Tomorow marks 38 weeks and these is a full moon this weekend.  Hmmm...bring on the labor!  The weather should be nice so we are planning on a cookout with some friends (Deep Friend Turkey, yum!) and whatever adventures we decide to tackle!  It's so nice to just be relaxed and (try) not to sit around waiting. 

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Could you live without a microwave?

About 6 weeks ago I was having a craving for chocolate so I turned to a childhood snack of melting semi-sweet morsels in the microwave and eating the melted chocolate with a spoon.  There was just one problem.  After 3 times setting the timer on the microwave and 3 times standing there for one minute salivating with anticipation, again the chips were still in solid form! (Yes, I really did try 3 times before giving up.)  My husband walks over and says, "Way to kill the microwave!"

Thanks dear, thanks.

So in a frantic moment (come on now I was having a pregnancy craving!) I melted the chocolate in the oven which took FOR-EV-ER!  It probably would have been faster on the stovetop but I just wasn't thinking clearly. 

I didn't run out the next day and buy a new microwave because I am super cheap and lets be honest, how often is a new microwave a purchase you need to make!  After about a week passes Chris was out of town for training and I decided to just see how long I could go without a microwave.  Maybe I don't really need one?  Except for a few situations where it's just more convenient - melting hot fudge for ice cream, Landon's 90 second oatmeal - I actually found the stove and/or oven work just as easily for anything I needed to cook or reheat.  In fact, I found food reheated in the oven or stove-top tasted better than in the microwave!  Yesterday I finally removed the beast from the counter and I am much enjoying the extra counterspace and a place for my cookbooks that L can't get ahold of them. 

This is certainly much prettier than a dirty old microwave:

 
Chris has yet to return from training so I'm not saying we'll never replace it but I'm going to hold out as long as I can. 
 
Could you (or do you) live without a microwave?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bathtub Paint

Entertaining a toddler is a task in itself, but with a Dad who's TDY and a Mom who's 34 weeks pregnant the task suddenly becomes momumental and exhausting!  Just for fun throw in a night spent washing vomit covered sheets, carpet, bath mat, towels, and clothes, and in the same 24 hours cleaning dog diarrhea (excuse me - I have a Great Dane so make that HORSE diarrhea) from the carpet & walls (yes walls) of your mudroom and well, we needed a simple and fun NEW activity pronto!  I pulled this idea from Pinterest and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't end up with a pinstrosity (have you seen that blog? - hilarious!) 

This was so simple - combine cornstarch, food coloring, baby shampoo, and a teensy bit of water for fun painting in the bathtub!


I didn't have any food coloring on hand and my local store only has the gel but it worked just fine.  The verdict - it was a hit!  We basically ended up with one color as Landon combined everything but if the kid makes a mess he is happy.  Mission accomplished!


Happy Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Early Potty Training Part 2



As I talked about in a previous blog post here, I'm potty training my almost 20 month old in hopes to have him trained before baby #2 arrives.  Which is in 7 weeks.  Eek!  My goals have changed some as I've gotten my feet wet (no pun intended) in the process.  We've been working on potty training somewhere between 4-6 weeks now.  Actually typing that makes it sound like a long time, but that's not every waking hour of everyday trying to sit L on the potty.  I've really tried to ease into it instead of a bootcamp approach.  I've learned that potty training early is more difficult because you have to help your little one learn the feeling of needing to pee & poo and take them to the potty every hour or so until they get it as opposed to them being a little older, knowing the feeling, but just refusing to do so on the potty.  I guess it can be a battle either way.

So the good news?  I think we are poop trained!  :)

The bad news - we are still working on pee training. :(

I have to say, though, as a cloth diapering momma I couldn't be happier about being poop trained!  It has been DAYS since I've had to clean a poopy diaper (or underwear.)  He poops 2-3 times per day and practically on command.  Well, I guess I've tuned into what times of day he needs to poop, but he knows what to do and really tries hard which makes me laugh everytime.

    *Another lesson I have learned is early potty trainers usually poop train first, later potty trainers poop train last.*

Pee is a LOT easier to clean up so it is fine by me!  On Sunday we were going to a friends house for playdate dinner and I decided to take L in his underwear, even though he's not exactly pee trained yet.  I kept telling myself if I always take him out in a diaper, he's never going to learn.  ::sigh::  Well, 2 underwear/pant changes later I put a diaper on him for the last hour or so of our playdate. (Sorry friend!)  I took him to use the potty 2-3 times but he seemed a bit scared and wouldn't use it so I guess that is a whole other challege.  Public potty.  I've decided I'm going to put one of those little potty seats in the car to use when we are out.  We have anywhere for a 30-45 minute drive anywhere we go so I'm pretty sure I will use it.  I've also made a point (for a couple weeks now) to sit L on the potty whenever we are out just to get him used to and comfortable with the idea of public pottys.  Let's be honest, I'm 33 weeks pregnant so I have to use the 'potty' every time we are out anyways!

I keep reading and hearing that toddlers tend to regress on PT when a new baby arrives.  I'm aware, but I'm also wondering if that is true or just something that people say.  If there's one thing I've learned it's that every tip/suggestion/old wives tale does NOT apply to every child.  I've also learned I tend to have lofty goals and get slammed with reality from time to time.  Ha!  No worries, I will post my successes & failures here for your reading pleasure!  I mean, who doesn't want to read about poop?

So my goal is still to have L fully potty trained by the time baby #2 arrives, however if he's not completely I'm not going to beat myself up over it.  I feel like he is making good progress and I'm taking it one day at a time in teaching him (and one day at a time with this pregnancy because I am SOOOOOOOOO DONE!)

And can I just repeat the best part about this entire post? 
 
No
 
More
 
Poopy
 
Diapers!
 
 
...at least for a few weeks. ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Baby Girl's Nursery Part 3

Well this isn't a breaking news or a major update on the nursery.  Just me getting all of my ducks in a row.  I think we have all of the necessities done so unless I get motivated to do a couple of projects I have in mind (button monogram framed for L & E or yarn wrapped letters) this will have to do.

The changing station is complete: 
 

The changing pad is secured to the dresser, the newborn diapers have been washed & prepped, and I hung these two shelves for a little extra storage.

They are about eye level, though they look higher in this picture. Sorry there's nothing pretty sitting on the shelves, just pratical things - Grandma El's Organic Diaper Balm, a couple snappis, a container w/cotton balls & qtips, newborn baby booties, baby wash clothes & a spray bottle. I was hoping to find a dark pink, or raspberry colored changing pad cover, but I was able to tie in colors from Landon's nursery so this blue works just fine. Clothes are all washed and put away!

I should label this picture as an epic fail but, eh sometimes you just have to work with what you have. 
 
We clearly bought the bins for this cheap, $20 shelf, too big. But, I only planned to use two bins, and have the middle shelf to store blankets or something else so I said the hay with it this will work just fine. I like the size bins we purchased so...there!

I think we are ready for baby!  Now I just need to survive the next 7 weeks!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pink Diapers

If you know me at all then you know my love affair with cloth diapers.  I'm proud to say that the love affair is a healthy one. 

In other words - no, I do not spend hundreds of dollars on every single adorable diaper I see(as tempting as it may be!)  We have a healthy, mutual love affair where I buy just enough to cloth diaper my child and they do their job by keeping everything, ahem, 'contained.'

Among other reasons, I choose to cloth diaper to save money and I honestly have.  To date I estimate I've spend somewhere between $500-700 on diapering Landon and all of those diapers can/will be used on Baby Girl coming in October. 

But.

When a friend was selling her girly diapers she no longer uses and offered me first dibs, how could I resist?  For under $100 I added everything you see below to my stash. 

 
Yay for pink!  I've added 5 adorable diaper covers, 2 all-in-ones (the hand & owl prints) and 4 fitteds.  I really didn't use fitteds with Landon because prefolds are SO much cheaper that I never bought any.  They are, however, SO much easier so I'm pretty excited about these.  I'll probably use the fitteds when we are out and prefolds at home.  Easy while out of the house = happiness!  I also added a stack of newborn size prefolds (& of course one pink snappi!)

 
I have a HUGE stash of size small prefolds that I used with Landon but the newborn size will fit better during the first month or two.  It's fun to be adding diapers to my stash that weren't necessary but will make life a little easier and well lets be honest, REALLY DARN CUTE!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pirates and Projects

Chris managed to get a 4-day weekend before his training schedule winds up again.  It's also the last weekend we had with him before he takes off for just over a month of training so we crammed a lot of fun, projects, cleaning, and just hanging out into a short amount of time.


The dresser drawers provided a good race track for Landon's trucks while we waited for Chris to finish up some last minute work Friday morning.  We painted the first coat on the dresser & side table then relaxed the rest of the day.



Saturday was designated as a "fun" day so we drove up to Alexandria Bay for Bill Johnston's Pirate Days.  Landon was more interested in the kids pirate gear (like the little girl to the left of Chris) than the actual pirates out on the lake.  We caught up with some friends for lunch at the Bay and after watching the pirates we also had dinner with them closer to home.


Pirates!

 
Sunday we made another trip to Lowes.  I swear projects never happen with just one trip!


As a refresher, here is the before of the dresser.  I never did get a close up.  This was my dresser growing up and I think it belonged to someone in the family before me.  It's off white with gold trim and gold-ish handles that had been painted white - many, many years ago. 


Our second Lowes trip was to look for dresser hardware as I failed to take one of the originals on my first trip to get the proper size.  I had picked out glass/clear handles that I thought were just perfect for a little girls room.  Turns out not one single handle at Lowes was the right size for our dresser.  Fantastic!  I suggested spray painting the ones we have so we traded $45 worth of hardware for a $6 can of spray paint and this was the result:


I think we made the right choice! 

Here is the dresser finished!

We also painted the little side table that's in the "before" picture.

We used Lowes giftcards and existing furniture in Baby Girl's nursery so we have spent $0 to date!  Not bad! 

It's been a full and fun weekend but now it's back to reality.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Adventures in early Potty Training



Once we found out we were expecting again, I knew I wanted Landon potty trained before the new baby arrived.  I was very careful about saying so too much because talking about early potty training is often met with looks, comments, and "boys don't potty train till after 3!"  I knew it would be a lot of work and I was diving into new territory but honestly every step of the way with a baby is new territory.  You learn as you grow!  With all of that said...

Potty training is a B*$#@! :)

 We started the process about three weeks ago, after returning from a month long visit down South with family.  I feel like I researched and read everything out there trying to determine my approach: 

-articles for early potty training (the rest of the world potty trains by 15-18mo)
-articles against early potty training (teaching your toddler to hold his bowels can cause lifetime
             bladder & incontinence problems)
-bootcamp method (have you toddler potty trained in 3 days)
-bribery (3 m&m's for pee pee and 5 m&m's for poop)
-casual (my toddler can tell me when he's ready to use the potty)
-naked (prepare for lots of cleanup)

        I could go on but you get the point.  There is an argument for practically every approach.  Ultimately I decided I wanted to go ahead and begin potty training now, at 18mo, even though I knew it would be more labor intensive, but I wanted to approach potty training like every other change so far (no more bottles, big boy bed, etc.)  Treat it as the new normal and go with the flow. 

So how are we doing?

Surprisingly good!  This post would have had a totally different tone 3-4 days ago though.  Lesson #1 - there is a whole new definition of patience when it comes to potty training.  Lesson #2 - Potty training early means a lot of teaching.  For example, teaching Landon what peeing and pooping even means.  I guess I kinda of knew this because I wanted to teach him early that pee & poop belong in the toilet, not his pants and I wanted him to know this before he got comfortable with it in his pants, lol.  At first I tried running him to the potty what felt like every 10 minutes, trying to anticipate when he was going to go.  Turns out, what I really needed to do was leave him in his training pants, let him start peeing and feel it running down him leg and then run to the potty and explain that THAT is what using the potty means.  Like I said earlier - early potty training is labor intensive.  I honestly wore myself out for a several days, got frustrated many times, then took a step back and realized my "laid back" approach had quickly been thrown out the door.  So then I decided to focus on key times that he would likely potty.  First think in the morning, right after nap time, and after dinner/bath. 

This week it seems that something has clicked!  He's using the potty every morning and in the past few days has done #1 & #2 a handful of times!  Yay!  Is he still messing in his diapers some, absolutely.  But he really seems to understand now.  Even if he pees in his diaper he comes and tells me "ba, ba" while pointing to his diaper as it's happening.  And then there's the time I went to his room after nap, smelled poop and saw a naked kid looking at me saying "uh-oh!", lol.  Thankfully the poop was only in his diaper BUT he knew that after it happened he shouldn't be in his diaper anymore so he just took it off.  Ohhhh the fun!  

We definitely still have a ways to go, but I can tell that we are making great progress and feel confident that we can be all or mostly potty trained by the time baby gets here in about 9 weeks!

As always, I will keep you posted!  That is, if you want to be!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stuck on a dresser

I was preparing to write an update on potty training today but my experience about 10 minutes ago takes precedence today.

So Landon was supposed to be napping but as I listened over the monitor he was playing instead.  No big deal, sometimes he will just play for an hour then quietly request to come out of his room.  But, today that pitiful (fake) whiny moan just won't stop.  I decide to go check on him thinking he's probably pooped and unsettled because of it (more on that later.)

When I open the door...I don't know how.  Or why.  But the child is sitting on top of his dresser, legs dangling off.  Everything that had been on top of the dresser is on the floor below him.  He's clearly stuck and can't figure out how to get down (hence the whining) and just as a bonus sticks his finger out to me that is covered in poo.


OH the joys of having a toddler!  :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baby Girl's Nursery Part 2

We completed Step 1 a few weeks ago with a yard sale, although I still have a pile of stuff in the garage waiting for the Salvation Army to pick up.  Er, make that waiting for me to call the Salvation Army to come pick up.

We made progress this weekend on Step 2 - switching beds & putting lots of other 'stuff' in the attic.  We put the full mattress & box springs in Landon's room.


For about 3-4 months he'd been sleeping in his crib with one side removed.  We debated buying  a toddler or twin bed but ultimately decided a bed we already owned made a lot more sense then buying a new one.


This is view 1 of Baby Girl's room.  We at least have the correct furniture in there now!  This dresser & side table belonged to me growing up so I'm excited to use it for her room.  Hopefully we'll give it a little facelift if we find the time and motivation!


View 2 of Baby Girl's room.  There's lots of work yet to be done but I'd say we had a successful weekend!


 After all of the furniture clean-up and switching Landon I peeked in to check on him in his new bed.  Success!  I'm so thankful he's such an easy going and adaptable little guy!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A boy & his dog

A few weeks ago, in the middle of all of the back & forth to Virginia, we had to put our older dog, Max, down.  He was a lounge around kind of dog and would let Landon crawl all over and do anything to him.


Tucker has always been a tad more jumpy & skiddish, but gradually warming up to having a baby/toddler around.  After Max was put down, Tucker became the unfortunate target of Landon's daily jungle gym and his hang out buddy.  While they do give me daily heart attacks (like L's latest obsession with sitting directly under Tucker when he's looking out the window) moments like this captured below do make me smile. 

There is something about a boy and his dog. :)






Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Baby Girl's Nursery Part 1

I'm 28 weeks pregnant and this is baby girl's nursery:



Needless to say we've got some work to do! 

It seems like just yesterday we found out we were having a girl.  A 2 week TDY, a week vacation in the Outerbanks, and 3 weeks with family in Virginia later - this due date is creeping up on us.  Although I'm not 'due' until October, we only have a handful of weekends left to pull this nursery together between Army training and such. 

Step one - have a yardsale.  We did this weekend without much luck so now we'll donate the rest to Salvation Army. 

Step two - switch furniture.  Big bed into Landon's room and crib into baby girl's room.

Step three - dresser project.  The dresser pictured above was mine growing up, but the wooden tracks are all splintered and a mess.  Hopefully we can clean it up, replace the tracks, and I'm thinking a new fun color.  Any suggestions?

Step four - hmm...organization?  Lots and lots of organization?  I'm not sure what the next step is.  I'll let you know when I get there!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Driving in the fast lane

My husband and I can't do anything simple.  Period.  I should have known this when we were planning a wedding, buying a house, and job searching at the same time several years ago.  I wrote a week or so ago about us staying put for another two years.  No change, no moving, just life staying simple where we are.  Well clearly that wasn't interesting enough for us!  In a round-about discussion I mentioned that since we are PCSing across the country directly following this deployment it might be nice to go home to Virginia, especially having a 6 month old, 2 year old, and 2 BIG, high maintenance dogs to take care of.  This sounds like a pretty reasonable plan, right?  The catch?  The best time to sell our house is now.  While we are pregnant with number two, and a good 6-9 months away from when I would move back to Virginia. 

Now we're talking fun! So if all goes as planned (but we all know it won't) we will sell our house, find temporary housing for the next 6-9 months, and begin looking for a rental in Virginia for me, the kiddos, and dogs.  As crazy as it all sounds, I'm really looking forward to being down South for a year and having the kids close to family.  I guess our short time in the military has prepared me for temporary living and it doesn't bother me. Although I'm not denying the next several months are going to be a little crazy.  It definitly beats trying to sell the house and move on my own next yeah while the husband is deployed.

Here's to driving in the fast lane and keeping life interesting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dig your roots a little deeper

The phrase - Bloom where you are planted - is often used by military spouses as we're often plopped in a new place left to our own devices to make friends, fin new gyms, grocery stores, daycare and activites, or at the very least get around without getting lost!  Usually just about when we've established ourselves and made a great circle of friends it's time to move again.

Well, today I'm going to dig my roots a little deeper.  What do I mean?  For the past 6 months we've been waiting/hoping for news that we would possibly be PCSing with a new opportunity for my husband.  Last week we got the news that we would not be moving, therefore staying right at Fort Drum for another 2 years.  This is always a possiblity and I knew that but I was really ready for a new adventure.  Fort Drum has been great to us and it's honestly not as bad as people say....but I felt two years was plenty. :)  Maybe it was the appeal of moving south with longer summers and shorter winters.  Maybe the thought of being a little closer to home and family, or maybe the idea of 2-3 years guaranteed with no deployments!  But, here we are for another two years and the realities are setting in.  Winter was good to us this past season so I don't hold my hopes high for the next.  We have the next deployment beginning in a year looming over us, and with two years in our current house I am at that point where I can tell you 20,189,387,156 things that I would like to change. 

So what's a girl to do?  I desperately want to be replanted! 

But I have a choice and I choose to dig my roots a little deeper.  On the bright side...we have a whole year to enjoy as a family before facing another deployment. (With months missing here and there for training but who's counting!)  Summer is just around the corner and there is SOOOO much to love about the North Country in the Summer!  We have a beautiful and safe home that fulfills our needs and I have a husband who likes projects so let the lists begin.  With baby #2 on the way, we know that those precious first years of both our kids will be in one place.  And, we have 2 more years before we have to worry about renting or selling our house.  There is a lot to celebrate afterall!

I am sure we all have had a time in our lives where we couldn't change our circumstance, as much as we wanted to, and had to deal with our current situation just a little while longer.  Dig your roots a little deeper.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rainy Day Recipe experiments Part 2

Next week's forecast looks like a little bit of sunshine and the reappearnce of 60 degrees!  Yipee!  Until then the temperature is dipping into the 20's at night over the weekend.  Sooo, onto two more recipes I mentioned I was going to try in this blog post.

Let's talk about the Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting.  YUM!  I'm not really a cake baker.  At all.  But I can make a mean banana bread and my family of three is generally obsessed with bananas. (We can go through 1-2 bunches in a week.)  When I saw the frosting was Nutella, I was sold!  First, here is a link to the recipe at The Gingersnap Girl Blog.  The cake was relatively easy to make with ingredients I had in the house, as was the frosting.  I took a few pictures that I can not share because my camera seems to be on it's last leg with every picture blurry. :(  Anyways, the cake was a hit with everyone and I sent half of it with hubby to work today (because we all preggo here would it eat all if it was in the house!)  Here is the recipe:

Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.  Or alternatively you can butter and flour the pan, knocking off excess flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat on low until just combined.  Add in vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until just combined.  With mixer on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add half the buttermilk.  Alternate flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with buttermilk.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on center rack for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn cake out onto a cooling rack and remove parchment.  Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Nutella
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or condensed milk)

In a stand mixer beat butter and Nutella on medium, about 1 minute until fully combined. Add in confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time. Mixture will appear crumbly. Add in 2 tablespoons of cream and continue beating on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add additional tablespoons of cream until the frosting reaches a soft, spreadable consistency. I used 4 tablespoons in total. Generously spread frosting over cooled cake. For a smooth finish, run your knife or offset spatula under hot water and gently smooth the surface, rinsing off it off after each swipe. 


I never did try the Mocha Iced Latte recipe this week.  What can I say, it was too cold!  I'll give that a try on a warm day, but I did attempt Dried Strawberries.  Basically half/quarter strawberries (depending on the size), season with salt & pepper and bake in a 210 degree F oven for 3 hours.  I didn't season the strawberries with salt & pepper because it just seemed weird but I probably should have.  The strawberries were so sweet I couldn't even stand to eat them.  I did store them in my fridge as I think they will make a good ice cream topper.  If that doesn't work maybe I will throw them into pancakes or a bread. 

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rainy Day Recipe experiments Part 1

Although it is the last week of April, Mother Nature is throwing December weather at us.  We are so on the verge of Summer that I was quite depressed looking at the forecast so I decided to try some new recipes this week, mostly Pinterest inspired.

The first recipe I tried this week was for No Bake Energy Bites.  I found the recipe through Pinterest and the blog www.jugglingwithkids.com.)  We've exhausted every granola bar/chip/trail mix we can find for lunch in our house and desperate needed something new.  They were both delicious and REALLY easy to make.  Basically mix all of the ingredients together, chill, form into balls, and enjoy!  Here is the recipe which you can also find by following the link above:

No Bake Energy Bites
Ingredients:
1 cup Oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes (I omitted this one)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and let it chill in the refridgerate for half an hour.
Once the mix is chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!

I tried one and they were so tasty I quickly!  I would advise against this temptation because they are SUPER filling and I was almost too full for dinner.

This next recipe is not Pinterest inspired but the result of this pregnant lady watching food commercials.  Who likes ranch, raise your hand?  I LOVE ranch and love an excuse to use it as more than a dipping sauce.  Ranch burgers, ranch mac-n-cheese, and the latest...ranch bread with pasta!  SOOO simple, I can't believe I didn't think of it myself.  The recipe is straight from www.hiddenvalley.com

Ranch Bread

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of softened butter
1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
2 loaves French or Italian Bread, cut in half lengthwise

Directions:
Spread the butter and then sprinkle the dressing mix evenly on the bread halves.  Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until golden and the butter begins to seep and bubble.  Serve Hot.

YUM!  Apparently I missed the "two loaves of bread" part of the instructions.  No, I don't always read recipes through first.  The bread was a hit with the family, although hubby and I both commented that perhaps the whole packet of Ranch was too much.  Well, now I know why...I needed TWO loaves. 

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did!

More to come later this week!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No sunshine?...sooo we bake!

I woke up this morning, sipped my coffee, and pulled up the 5 day forecast - intending to see what days would be warm enough to bring some toys outside for Landon and perhaps go to the park.  What I found was a forecast full of rain and the occasional snow shower.  Wait.  Did I just read SNOW shower?!?   Ughh.  I guess I have to wait a couple more weeks to pull some summer toys outside.  Or maybe till I head South in June.

Sooo...onto plan B.  Or rather time to think of a plan B.  Today is also grocery list making day so I've decided to take some Pinterest inspiration (combined with good ol' pregnancy cravings) and try some new recipes during this gloomy, dreary week.  Here is a sneak peak, but I'll be sure to post about how they were received by the family as well as pictures and links to the recipes.

No Bake Energy Bites - We desperately need a lunch box/snack upgrade

Iced Mocha Latte - to compare with my DD addiction

Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting - no explanation needed

Ranch Bread - Ok, this pregnant lady has to admit this is not pinterest inspired. It was a commercial. for Hidden Valley.


My mouth is watering already.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012


Earth Day is Sunday April 22nd.  To celebrate, I'm participating in the Great Cloth Diaper Change on Saturday.  The event is Mom's (& Dad's) all across America changing a cloth diaper on their child for the Guiness Book of World Records.  And of course the intent is to raise awareness about cloth diapers!  Here's a link for more information:


If you have any curiousities or questions about cloth diapering, please ask me!  I have answered many questions for friends who were curious and most of them (not all) decided to use them!  It's not for everyone but why not make an informed decision?


How will you be celebrating Earth Day?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Big Boy Bed

Since about the beginning of February (when we discovered #2 was on the way) hubby and I have talked about switching Landon to a big boy bed.  Buy a toddler bed or just a mattress on the floor?  Use the full size mattress we already have or buy a twin?  When should we switch him?  Despite all the discussion, we hadn't come to any concrete decisions, although we were leaning towards just moving the full size mattress that we already had into his room.  Baby #2 isn't due until October so there is no rush, but we are the type that will discuss a topic to exhaustion, leave it alone for a while, and then randomly decide to take action.

That is exactly what we did this weekend.  We decided to give the big boy bed ago, so mid-morning hubby started to take the crib apart (not a convertible) and we discovered it worked perfectly well with one size removed.  There were no rough edges or parts sticking out and it was perfectly stable. 

So, there you go!  We put our little guy in his temporary (we will still move him to a mattress on the floor as the crib will be used for baby #2) big boy bed for naptime!  He cried and cried and then fell asleep like this right by the door.


HILARIOUS!  At bedtime he didn't fuss, but again got out of the bed and fell asleep on the floor so we moved him back into the bed.  He fell out of the bed one time the first night but otherwise did great!  The next couple of days he still insists on napping on the floor, but has slept all night in the bed!  I heard him get up this morning and begin playing with his toys.  I think he likes it!


As for the naps on the floor, oh well.  I was inclined at first to move him back to the bed but it just wakes him back up and results in screaming.  My philosophy is if he wants to nap on the floor, then he can nap on the floor.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm still here!

Wow, I haven't blogged in nearly three weeks!  What have I been doing?  Well, I don't really have a great answer for that.

 This past weekend we drove south for my college roommates wedding in Annapolis, MD at the Naval Academy.  If you've never been to the Naval Academy, it's gorgeous!  We had a wonderful time and got to catch up with some college friends I hadn't seen in 6+ years.

Perhaps the most exciting new development can be summed up in this picture:


We're execting Baby #2 this October!  So I guess the real answer of what I've been doing for the past couple of months is battling nausea and trying to keep my belly from growling.  It's a cruel joke to be nauseous & hungry at the same time!

So now begins the adventure of preparing for a second baby.  Our guest bedroom closet has always been a dumping ground for things that have no where else to go so there is some cleaning out/organizing in my future.  I also hope to move Landon to a big boy bed and work on potty training before October. 

Let the adventures begin!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring?


This picture pretty much describes my life right now. 

My little guy is nearly 15 months and FULL of energy.  I swear he eats as much as I do at times and he weighs the same as he did at 12 months.  If he ever slows down he might gain a pound or two but I don't see that happening anytime soon! 

In other news, it's starting to feel like Spring in NNY....in March!  I'm hoping it's not a tease and all snow truely is behind us.  We haven't used winter coats in a week or more and the other day we actually got to play outside - with no jacket! 


Landon was around 6 months last Summer so this was his first time playing outside.  It's so much fun to watch him explore!

So here is my request, Spring.  Can you tell Winter it's been fun but we'd really like your friend Summer to join us soon?  Pretty please??

Monday, March 5, 2012

Winter is draaaaaggggging



This picture makes me laugh everytime I see it.  I wish I could say this was a one-time incident, but Landon falls asleep while eating more than I feel is normal.  Besides sleep-eating, we are just trying to get by these last weeks of winter. (It makes me hopefully to say weeks, not months.) 

To get in the summer spirit we started swim lessons last week.  My kid was the one who cried through the entire lesson.  Awesome!  It was a first time Mom moment when he was screaming crying that I wondered if I should just get out of the pool so I don't ruin it for the other kids, but I also didn't want to cave into Landon. (He WILL like swimming, dangit!)  I compromised and moved him to the steps where he could sit in the water and feel a little more comfortable.  Phew!  Hopefully he comes around to swimming before our beach vacation in June!

Other than swim lessons we have daily dance parties inside while we pretend it isn't snowing outside.  Is 60 degree (at least) weather & green grass too much to ask for?!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Present & Future

It is so easy to get caught up in what might happen in the future and wish away the present. 

Hubby & I have been antsy since December about a possible next step in his military career.  A possible next step that we won't hear about until the end of April.  I thought these months would be torturous, waiting and wondering every single day.  It's a career move that Chris really wants and I really want it for him.  I have the moving itch and I'm ready for something new.  Everyday I hear about another family moving away from here.  This career move would mean a lot more training and a much more distrupted schedule.  On the other hand, it's possible that the next 'move' doesn't happen at all and we stay here even longer. 

It occurred to me last night as our little family sat around the dinner table promptly at 5:30pm - You know, we have it pretty good right now.  Chris doesn't have to go into work very early and he's almost always home between 5:30-6:00pm.  We have dinner together, playtime with Landon, and watch Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune.  Life is good!

I can't make April arrive any faster so I'm going to take a step back and enjoy what we have.  Afterall I can't let one single day in April determine my happiness. 

It's the little things, each and every day, that make me happy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1 year project

Somehow, without trying, I managed to keep all of Landon's checkup stickers from his first year.  And in relatively good condition.  I thought it would be neat to do something with them, as well as his newborn footprints.  An added bonus is that I'd be less likely to lose them. 

Here is the end result: